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Jun 29, 2008 05:58 AM

Harrison's @ State College, PA?

Has anyone ever dined @ Harrison's in State College inside the Hilton Garden? Menu looks great but I'm always wary of hotel restaurants.

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  1. I ate lunch there in May. I patronized Harrison's a few times when they were located on North Atherton St. Being an out of towner I didn't know what happen to them when that location closed. Lunch was good. It's nice to know they are still in business.

    1. No one has heard for Harrison's? Need a good choice for dinner the weekend of the Coastal Carolina/Penn State football game....thinking about Water Street grill? Anyone heard or dined here?

      2 Replies
      1. re: stacland59

        Do you mean Allen Street Grill? Its not bad but there are much, much better places to go in State College for your money. Try calling ahead to Zola's or Alto for a good meal that really isn't too expensive. They are owned by the same people and have a website. Other than those two, there is Kelly's in Boalsburg, Champs for a sports bar with good food/good beer selection, and Olde New York which is a german restaurant with an excellent beer selection and a nice atmosphere.

        1. re: stacland59

          Water Street Grill is in Spring Mills, about a twenty-five minute drive from State College. I wouldn't consider it a Chowhound favorite by any means, it is more oriented to the local rural culture.

          Harrison's is mediocre food, way overhyped.

          Better choices are in State College, Kelly's in Boalsburg, Gamble Mill or High Street Grill in Bellefonte. Zola and Alto are decent but pricey. Ethnic choices include Cozy Thai Bistro for good Thai on E College Ave, and Herwig's for Austrian on W College Ave, and India Pavilion on Calder Way. Otto's Brewery is okay, a step better than most chain restaurants.

        2. Yeah, depends on what you want to spend.

          Harrison's does great catering, but their new location is in the lobby of a hotel, so the atmosphere is lousy.... and the food rather mediocre.

          Best food is at Zola's. The owners have also taken over Gamble Mill in Bellefonte, but I haven't been so can't say what it's like.

          Otto's -- not in the "downtown" area -- is a nice brew pub with good beer and decent food.

          India Pavillion's got decent Indian.

          1. I've eaten there several times and have not been disappointed. Although the atmosphere is nothing special, this is one of the few restaurants in State College that uses locally grown produce. Harrison's has a subscription to the Tait Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), so there is always a "fresh and local" salad on the menu as well as other items. The portions are much more generous than, say, Alto & Zola. The chef prepared the dinner for the Pennsylvania Assoc. for Sustainable Agriculture harvest dinner a couple of years ago & made one of the most fantastic meals I've ever had. He received the ingredients on Friday--not knowing ahead of time what they would be--and by Sunday prepared a scrumptious feast using all ingredients from PA.

            5 Replies
            1. re: runningfoodie

              I hear Harrison's is good, as far as state college fair is concerned. It did not originally start out as a hotel restaurant; he relocated. As far a zola is concerned, I wouldn't waste your money. On both occasions I ate there my entree was sub par. I'm talking fishy, over cooked salmon and enough sugar on a pork loin and cabbage situation that it made me ill. It's pretentious and relies to heavily on the fact that it's the only fine dining place downtown. For more unique finds, check out the newly relocated cozy thai bistro, herwigs and websters book cafe--especially the yemaya melt and their spicy lentil soup. and even though its a chain, five guys is the only consistently delicious food i've eaten in state college. Otherwise, I'm excited to try crisp--a salad and juice bar on the corner of pugh-- and the korean/thai/vietnamese place they are opening in the former cozy thai location.

              1. re: esperanza

                The best food in town is at Chopstick Express. But only for dinner -- REAL and excellent Sichuan food.

                Agreed on Zola's (of course, this thread is now over a year old). The owner / chef is clearly too busy with all his other ventures to apply quality management.

                I found Cozy Thai a massive disappointment. 95% of the appetizers are deep-fried, and don't even get me started on trying to get some heat... I'd frankly rather make my own curry...

                1. re: linguafood

                  so you're right about the cozy thai, barring their papaya salad they aren't spectacular. after reading your review of chopsticks express, however, i am going there as soon as possible. and i cannot wait.

                  1. re: esperanza

                    just make sure to go in the evening, and to order from the 'chef's specialties' menu. they don't serve those delights during the day.

                    it is to die for, and i hope you like it!!!

                  2. re: linguafood

                    I can't disagree about cozy thai either, it's definitely suited for american tastes. That being said, it's cheap, good, and you can bring your own beer/wine. So I definitely recommend it for a casual night out, just be aware it's not exactly like being in Thailand. I'll also be trying Chopstick express, I never gave it a second glance earlier. I've been focusing all of my asian energy on the big bowl noodle house...yum.